An image of a large heath at Fen Bog Nature Reserve

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Surrounded by bright purple heather, with a variety of colourful sphagnum mosses underfoot, Fen Bog is a delightful moorland nature reserve.

Fen Bog is set in the stunning location of the North York Moors, situated between the summits of Tom Cross Rigg and Crag Stone Rigg and takes the form of a long curving piece of land that is bounded at both ends by moorland streams.

The 19 hectare site comprises of two main sections; the main valley mire and the higher ground leading down to it from the parking area which is primarily wet heath and moorland and is separately fenced from the rest of the site.

The mire bottom has some of the most unusual species of the sphagnum moss in the region, which have survived and flourished largely due to consistent management by the Trust. The land is dependent on regional rainfall and appropriate levels of drainage to keep the mire in peak condition.

Besides controlling bracken by hand, the site is grazed by sheep from neighbouring common land. This is beneficial in keeping down coarse grasses that may threaten some of the plant species present such as heather and hard ferns. Some of the more interesting plants are round-leaved sundew, cranberry, common butterwort, marsh violet and bog asphodel which are all located within the mire. In the upper areas there is a population of chickweed wintergreen, also known as Arctic starflower, that benefits from being in one of the few areas that are ungrazed on the moor.

The site is good for butterflies with small pearl-bordered fritillary and large heath both occurring in early summer. Curlew can be heard calling from the surrounding moors and whinchat, wheatear and meadow pipit all breed. Look out for merlin passing through.

If you time your visit well you may also see a steam train passs down the Pickering railway line adjacent to the nature reserve. Fen Bog was gifted to the Trust in 1964 by Air Marshal Sir John Baldwin and Major CL Baldwin in memory of their son and nephew respectively who were killed in action in World War II.

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Property Facilities

  • Dogs Accepted


Property Facilities

  • Dogs Accepted

Map & Directions

Road Directions

Adjacent to the A169 between Whitby and Pickering just north of RAF Fylingdales and south of Ellerbeck bridge and the turn off to Goathland.

Park on entrance track; please do not obstruct the site gate.

Fen Bog Nature Reserve

Type:Nature Reserve

White Way Heads, Goathland, Pickering, North Yorkshire, YO18 7AT
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Call direct on:

Tel01904 659570


  • Other AwardsSelf-assessed Accessibility Information Self-assessed Accessibility Information
  • Membership SchemeDiscover Yorkshire Coast – Silver Member Discover Yorkshire Coast – Silver Member 2021

Opening Times

Fen Bog Nature Reserve (1 Jan 2023 - 31 Dec 2023)

* Open at all times
Best time to visit - May to September

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